Monday Brews – 3-30-15

Welcome back to Boards and Barley. It’s been 20 days since I last posted anything. Why? Because board gaming stuff is a hobby and not a job (Though if that changed it would be pretty sweet). I love blogging about board game stuff, but when things get really busy this hobby falls to the back seat before anything else. Never-the-less, I’m going to adjust my schedule so that I can continue blogging and sharing tips about homebrewing and designing board games.

One of the first things I want to do is to renovate (i.e., create) a Game Design Page that compiles all of my articles about the game design process. I’ve posted stuff about game design from concept to publication and I think having all that in one place would be really useful.

I also want to start a regular Tuesday article about beer that focuses on a Beer of the Week. I like to try as many new beers as I can and I’d like to share my thoughts about the beer and its style with you.

Another thing that I’ve missed doing are the “Design Me” game design exercises. These are relatively easy to post so I think I’ll try to get back into those. Plus, they are very beneficial for game designers as they help flex your game design muscle.

But today is Monday so let’s check out the Boards & Barley I’ve been enjoying!

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The Barley

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Ale Asylum HuMMMane India Brown Ale

I bought a six pack of this brew at my FLBS (Favorite local beer store) because they were giving away samples and because the proceeds would go to support the local Honor Flight. For those not aware of the Honor Flight program, it is a program that takes war veterans to Washington DC to visit their respective war memorials. Then there are usually nice crowds to welcome the war heroes back home when their airplane lands. With a father who was in the military and with a brother who has served tours of duty in places I would never want to go I am very happy to support the military whenever possible, and the honor flights are a great way to do so.

New Beer Count for 2015: 22

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The Boards

My sister beat me and become the Harbour Master!

My sister beat me and become the Harbour Master!

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Harbour

There is a lot of game in this little box. In Harbour players try to manage their resources, ship goods, and buy buildings. There are a lot of interesting decisions to be made while hoping your opponents don’t modify the market and sweep the rug out from under your feet. I’m glad I backed this Tasty Minstrel Games project on Kickstarter.

  • Scoville
  • NEW! Fidelitas - I thought this game was pretty clever. I played a 2 player game and I enjoyed it. Playing it a second time will be even better know that I have a better idea of how the game is played and what combos exist.
  • Crokinole
  • Concordia (Half of a game)
  • Dungeon Roll
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Ziggurat Playtest

New Board Game Count for 2015: 15

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So those are the Boards & Barley that I’ve been enjoying. What have you been enjoying?

A Guide for Beer Glasses

My friend Jeremy recently bought me a beer glass on a recent trip. It’s not just any beer glass. It’s different than any other beer glass I’ve seen.

What makes it different is the curvature of the glass. The sides are slightly curved like an Irish Imperial Pint glass. But also the bottom has a nice rounded feature that makes this glass have a very nice feel in your hand.

I have a collection of about 30 pint glasses. I typically prefer the Shaker pint glass style with the straight walled sides. But I like to make exceptions for glasses when they’re awesome. This beer glass from Odell Brewing is awesome.

So today I wanted to write about different beer glass styles including what beer styles go in them. But as I was doing research I found a really nice infographic from a company that sells a hangover product (Revivol). And then I found a second one (from Central Restaurant Products) with a little more info and less graphics. I like them both. So instead of me typing a bunch of stuff, here are two pretty sweet infographics:

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Monday Brews – 3-9-15

It’s gonna be 48 degrees here in Wisconsin today so that’s pretty awesome. Also awesome is that the college basketball tournament is approaching. I love the tournament because the kids playing college basketball put so much heart into it compared to professional sports where it’s more about money. But this website isn’t for writing about sportsball.

So let’s see what Boards & Barley I’ve enjoyed over the last week:

The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Snake River Vienna Lager

My friend Jeremy brought these back from a recent trip out west and graciously shared them with us. It was a very enjoyable beer and was characteristic of Vienna Lagers. I’d love to visit the brewery someday. By the looks of their website they’ve got a great brewpub.

New Beer Count for 2015: 19

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The Boards:

Unfortunately you still can’t turn lead into gold.

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Alchemists

I had been wanting to play this game by Czech Games Edition for a while and was able to get it to the table at Board Game Night. Alchemists is like Clue except instead of having to figure out three things you need to figure out 8. And instead of having turns where you roll a 1 and move one space through the mansion you can do great stuff every turn. And instead of having the game end by someone making a lucky guess you play 6 rounds.

Alchemists was a ton of fun. The gameplay is great. The theme works really well. The deduction is intense. I lost badly but I seriously enjoyed the game. The only downsides for me were that there’s a pretty steep learning curve. The first play took us three hours. That included the time it took to teach, though. The bottom line was that I thoroughly enjoyed the game and I can’t wait to play Alchemists again.

  • NEW! Robinson Crusoe – We got beat so badly that I’ll have to play again just so I can feature it as the BOARDS SPOTLIGHT without feeling like we played so poorly.
  • Roll for the Galaxy

New Board Game Count for 2015: 14

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Designer’s Corner:

Ziggurat is coming along nicely. I have been working on it feverishly so that I can have it ready for Protospiel-Milwaukee in April.

The problem that was mentioned about the game in it’s previous form was that if you weren’t building you were falling behind. And the first to build got the better bonuses so they could build better and faster and become a runaway leader. That was a bummer.

So I’ve come up with a new, more “Euro” system of playing this game. It will turn the game into more of a point-salad, “Feldian” type game, but those are the types of games I enjoy.

The solution I came up with changes the game slightly in that it is mildly less accessible since the learning curve is steeper. However, the game play should be much improved as there are more things to consider on each and every turn. The scoring conditions are also improved. In the previous version the win would all but be known when the game ended. I prefer that players not know who is going to win before the end of the game. This gives all players hope that they might somehow sneak out a victory. So I’ve changed it so that there are a lot more points counted at the end rather than during the game.

Overall I’m really excited about where this is going. I think there’s a lot of potential here. But ultimately, this game is a lot of fun to design.

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So that’s what I’ve been up to. What Boards & Barley have you been enjoying?

Craftbeer.com = Awesomeness

Today I right a wrong. The wrong is that I’ve never blogged about Craftbeer.com. It is a traveshamockery that will be resolved today.

Why today? Because yesterday my buddy, Brett Myers, tweeted about some new awesomeness:

One of the questions I get asked frequently, and also ask of others, is, “What is your favorite beer style?” I often answer that anything Belgian is my favorite. I love Dubbels, Tripels, Saisons, etc. Then people ask what those are like. I usually mumble something about a floral character and distinct taste. But now I have a sweet resource to which I can refer people.

Craftbeer.com Style Guide

Yesterday Craftbeer.com posted a news release marking the launch of their new Beer Style Guide. This allows people to search for beer styles based on SRM (color), IBU (bitterness), and ABV (alcohol by volume). Here is a glimpse at the style selector:

CraftBeerStyleGuide

By adjusting the sliders you can hone in on the styles that fit what you’re looking for.

Clicking on any style brings you to a page with much more information about it. Click here for the Belgian Dubbel page. The information pages are great. They tell you the average ranges for SRM, IBU, and ABV. They show the type of glass in which to serve that style. It’s just pure awesomeness.

In the past when I wanted to learn about beer styles I would visit Beer Advocate. Their style guide is nice and was my go-to source for years. In fact, I will still reference it when I need information regarding American Adjunct Lagers.

So if you are a beer connoisseur or snob or just enjoy some Pumpkin Peach Ale over golden suds, then I recommend you check out the Beer Style guide and then everything else on Craftbeer.com.

Have a great weekend and enjoy a brew or two!

Monday Brews – 3-2-15

It’s been two weeks since I posted anything. Yikes. Life is busy when you have three kids. But no excuses. I have four articles in draft form that i just need to polish off. Hopefully that will happen soon.

But today is Monday, the day we celebrate the awesome Boards & Barley we’ve been enjoying over the past week or so. I’ve played some good stuff lately and even had an enjoyable IPA. So let’s start, as usual, with the Barley…

The Barley

That dude is freaky, but the brew is good!

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Revolution Anti-Hero IPA

My friend Mark from Chicagoland brought this over when they visited a couple weekends ago. I have been trying to become more of an IPA drinker to mild success. This IPA, however, has a very nice and subtle sweetness to it that makes it more enjoyable for me. Thanks, Mark, for bringing it over!

  • Homebrew – Rolling Dubbels Belgian Dubbel
  • NEW! Valkyrie Big Swede Swedish Style Imperial Stout
  • NEW! Lumberyard Flagstaff IPA
  • NEW! Lakefront New Grist Sorghum Beer
  • Tyranena Sheep Shagger Scotch Ale
  • New Glarus Cabin Fever Honey Bock
  • Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute

New Beer Count for 2015: 17

The Boards

Better than Race for the Galaxy, imho.

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
NEW! Roll for the Galaxy

I picked this up at my FLGS (Favorite Local Game Store) when I was demoing Scoville. I’ve always like Race for the Galaxy but I’m not sure I’ve ever totally understood it. There are so many icons and it’s not totally straight forward to me. Roll for the Galaxy is much more streamlined and understandable. I love how they incorporated the dice for choosing and completing actions. The dichotomy of developments versus worlds is much more clear than in Race. Overall I thought this was great and I imagine it will be hitting the table quite a bit!

  • NEW! Terra Mystica - Whoa… there’s A LOT of game here. This is a very good and enjoyable Euro game where you can’t ever do as much as you want but you can still feel good about what you can accomplish. It takes a long time to play but I enjoyed it enough to want to play again.
  • Scoville
  • Mutiny Playtest
  • Imperial Settlers
  • NEW! Cinque Terre - I got this in a local Math Trade and played a 2p game. It’s pretty fun, very colorful, and I’d like to play with more than 2.
  • NEW! Among the Stars – This is much better than I expected. This was also a 2p play so I’d like to try it with more, but I really enjoyed it. Plus, there are already a bunch of expansions so it’s got a lot of replayability.
  • Wits and Wagers
  • Sushi Go
  • Camel Up
  • Unpublished Prototype – Nuke it from Orbit

New Board Game Count for 2015: 12

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